On March 19, 2021, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued an Order addressing gathering limits and face masks that also included new COVID-19 testing requirements for persons participating in organized sports, including school athletics.
On March 20, 2021, and again on April 1, 2021, MDHHS updated its Interim Guidance for Athletics to explain the new COVID-19 testing requirements. https://www.michigan.gov/documents/coronavirus/2021.02.07_Interim_Guidance_for_Contact_Sports_updated_FINAL_715541_7.pdf
In response, on March 24, 2021, the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) issued an update for winter and spring
sports addressing the new requirements, which can be found on the MHSAA website on it’s Health and Safety page. https://www.mhsaa.com/Schools/Health-Safety-Resources
As required by the MDHHS every Spring student-athlete will have to take a Rapid COVID test once a week in order to participate in their spring sport. A rapid test is a NON-INVASIVE process with a quick swab of the nose, just inside each nostril. See link for example of test. https://www.mhsaa.com/portals/0/Documents/health%20safety/Nasal%20Swab%20Collection.pdf
Each individual is required to sign a written consent to the rapid testing program and a Code of Conduct that will be collected by the athletic department. These two forms will be handed out to students on Monday, April 5th at practice or can also be picked up in the athletic office. These MUST be turned in on the students first day of testing. See examples of forms below.
Athletes who have recovered from COVID-19 in the past three months and who are symptom-free may participate in athletics without testing. But to participate, these athletes must provide a letter from their doctor attesting that they had “confirmed” COVID-19 and are symptom-free. For this exception to apply, an athlete must have had a positive diagnostic test within the past three months. An antibody test is not sufficient to demonstrate the athlete had COVID-19. All other masking and mitigation requirements continue to apply.
The first week of Spring Athlete Testing will look a little different from future testing weeks as we work to set up our testing supplies and calendars. Coaches will be given a test date for their specific teams for the first week by Tuesday, April 6th. Test days for the first week will be Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday, April 7th – 9th before or after school. (dates and times will be given to coaches) All participating high school and middle school student athletes will be tested during the first week during one of these days. Beginning the week of April 11th, teams will be assigned to a day and time of the week to have tests done weekly, and there will also be a “make-up” day and time each week for those who were not able to be tested on their teams testing day.
Please know that we are working to find the best way to do this and give our spring student athletes the opportunity to play sports. Things may change as new directives and guidance are given to us by the MHSAA or MDHHS. As we work to find the best way to do this for all, school protocols may also change. This is new for all of us in regards to testing this many student athletes each week. We greatly appreciate your patience as we navigate through it all.